Duggan vs. Napoleon heats up; each promises to champion Detroit neighborhoods

Aug 28, 2013

Benny Napoleon
Benny Napoleon

 After a post-primary lull, the Detroit mayor’s race is heating up again—with each candidate positioning himself as the champion of the city’s neighborhoods.

While the State Board of Canvassers sorts out who actually won the primary, Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon jumped back into the spotlight this week.

Duggan’s slogan is “every neighborhood has a future.” And he unveiled a proposed 10-point “neighborhood plan” to combat blight and boost struggling areas earlier this week.

But Napoleon calls that disingenuous at best.

According to Napoleon, Duggan is the preferred candidate of “downtown corporate interests.” And he says those interests are re-shaping Detroit “from a visitor’s perspective”—leaving most city residents behind.

“We will never achieve and experience [that] type of sustainable business development in Detroit until we’re able to offer the kind of communities that are attractive to corporate leaders and their employees to live in,” Napoleon said Wednesday.

Napoleon says he’ll release his grassroots revitalization plan—based on the idea of re-building the city “one square mile at a time”—next week.

“Building a city from a visitor’s perspective, while ignoring the perspective of those who live there, is not the way to go,” Napoleon said.

Napoleon also insists that while Duggan publicly opposes Detroit’s emergency manager, he worked with state officials behind the scenes to help select Kevyn Orr for that post.

Duggan acknowledges talking with state officials during that process—but says he lobbied against appointing an emergency manager.